Published: Mar 20, 2018
Time to read: 4mins

Productivity Through Culture and Engagement - Takeaways from HRMI East

How does culture drive engagement? And why is engagement critical to the productivity that drives organizational performance?

At the recent IPMI HR Management Institute East Summit, we explored these questions with a group of Fortune 1000 HR leaders from across the US.

Like you, these leaders are navigating the challenges of the multi-generational, multicultural, digitalized, and mobile workforce. The productivity of an engaged workforce is their top priority—and for good reason.

Productivity–The Nexus of Culture, Retention, and Engagement

Let’s take a look at some eye-opening statistics from a 2017 Gallup report highlighting the importance of a productive, engaged workforce and its effect on culture, retention and profitability.

  • When it comes to the job market, employees realize that they have options and are poised to take advantage of them. Gallup has found that more than half of employees (51%) say they’re actively looking for a different job or watching for openings.
  • Engaged employees make it a point to show up to work and do more work. Highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity.
  • Productive, engaged workers also are more likely to stay with their employers. In high-turnover organizations, highly engaged business units achieve 24% less turnover.
  • In low-turnover organizations, the gains are even more dramatic: Highly engaged business units have 59% less turnover.
  • Employees who are engaged consistently show up to work and have a greater commitment to quality and safety. This in turn improves customer relationships and contributes to impressive organic growth. Highly engaged business units achieve a 10% increase in customer ratings and a 20% increase in sales.

Not surprisingly, these stats and impacts translate to increased profitability for an organization. Engaged employees are more present and productive. They’re more attuned to the needs of customers. And they’re more observant of processes, standards, and systems.

Taken together, the behaviors of highly productive and engaged business units result in 21% greater profitability.

With these themes as the backdrop, we asked our Think Tank attendees one question:

“Given the potential of making positive gains to your business, what are you doing to drive employee engagement across your workforce?”

The resulting discussion spanned the strategic thinking and tactical execution required to engage employees.

In Their Own Words: 7 of our Favorite Lessons Learned

  1. Actively manage your culture – “We believe that actively managing culture is critical to success. Using a common language and consistently reinforcing our values produces strong engagement and results.”
  2. Rally around common values – “It’s important that we all have same values, for example, a casual work environment, access to leadership.”
  3. Promote accountability and business focus – “We hold stand up meetings where we discuss the business’ focus, any problems and who owns them. This creates direction and accountability and is keeping people focused and more engaged as a result.”
  4. Communicate with respect – “We rely on effective communications. Treat adults like adults and you get that behavior. Being transparent and informative is important too.”
  5. Find the leadership approach that fits – “We found that moving away from SWOT teams to leaders holding responsibilities was more productive in engagement.”
  6. Include temporary staff – “Our recruiters launch programs for temporary employees to upskill to get higher paying jobs. They are invested in the success of the candidates they work with.”
  7. Engage experts to get executive support – “We hired an organizational development company and called it ‘change management’ to get CEO buy in to help with employee engagement.”

Your People, Your Way

Tips and techniques like these are great for sparking ideas and uncovering opportunities you might not have considered. But consider them all in the context of your workforce. For example, one attendee contradicted item #7 above, advising that staying away from “change management” as a term helps people be “more open to talking freely.”

There’s no single key to creating a culture of engagement. But given the clear ties to productivity and success, it’s worth the effort to find out what works for your workforce.

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